Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fasting - Review


Author: Scot McKnight

Fasting is a ritual that I just don’t hear much about. I have friends who fast, but I can honestly say it hasn’t come up in any church I’ve been in. Interesting that this age’s old practice has been eliminated by many in this century.

The author of Fasting, Scot McKnight, points out readily that the Western world has seen a decline and an increased confusion about when and why to fast.

McKnight, throughout the book, places emphasis on the WHY of fasting. His illustration is an A – B – C approach. A is the why, B is the Fasting and C is the desired result. He contends that many fast with an end result in mind. His goal is to change that mindset to fasting being the result of a “grievous sacred moment” rather than fasting being a device used towards an end goal. As he rightly points out, God cannot be manipulated. Just as prayer shows our reliance on and desire to draw nearer to God, so does fasting. In either case, God can say no.

McKnight walks us through the many reasons to fast: body talk, body turning, body plea, body discipline, body calendar, body poverty, body contact and body hope. Throughout each, he continually emphasizes the A – B – C approach.

I enjoyed the read of this book, even though it was confusing at times. McKnight’s own admission that he has not focused on fasting both aided and detracted from the read. It aided in the sense that he could understand some of the reasons why it is not followed today. The detraction comes in the feeling that he may not be authoritative enough on the topic to be a good read for a person investigating fasting. While he uses considerable resources and scripture, it did feel like his preaching of the formula was a little excessive. As a person who has never tried fasting, I was looking for reasons to start. I found myself wondering what qualifies as a grievous sacred moment enough to prompt me to fast. Perhaps because I have never felt a desire to fast, I cannot recognize that “moment”?

I was interested to read that Christians fasted regularly on Wednesday and Friday in ancient times. I found myself desiring to attempt this connection with God and looking to Lent as a time to put my thoughts into action. Not wanting to seek a result, but rather a connection, Lent seems an appropriate time to remember Jesus’ sacrifice for us and fast to honor that.

*** I was sent a copy of this book by BookSneeze free of charge for my honest review.

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